2015-05-07 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, April 30:

  • Last week, representatives from China’s national Energy Research Institute, the State Grid Energy Research Institute, and others released a new study envisioning a nation powered by 57% renewables in 2030, growing to 86% renewables by 2050, all at the same time as China’s economy grows sevenfold. [CleanTechnica]

View from the Great Wall: Smog coming out off Beijing to the mountains. Photo by Daag. Wikimedia Commons.

  • California Governor Jerry Brown launched an ambitious new effort to limit climate change Wednesday, calling for the state to cut its planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, the toughest carbon goal adopted by any North American government for that time frame. [USA TODAY]
  • Another large user of power is going to boycott the direct use of coal at the facilities it controls. But this time, it’s not a government or a do-good nonprofit institution. No, it is the largest manufacturer of vehicles, a profit-seeking behemoth that symbolizes the nation’s industrial strength: General Motors. [Slate Magazine]

Friday, May 1:

  • Infratech Industries, Inc opened a solar plant at a wastewater treatment facility in South Australia, and it could potentially change the way we harvest solar energy. According to the company’s director, the panels are 57% more efficient than land-based systems because they’re kept cool by the water. [Grist]
  • A new report from the banking and financial services company, HSBC, has warned of increasing risk of “stranded assets” in the fossil fuel industry. It raises questions that are going to need to be addressed in the coming years, if not sooner, as nations gear up for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. [CleanTechnica]
  • Tesla unveiled a suite of energy products, including a wall-mounted battery for use in consumers’ homes. The Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery designed to be mounted on a wall, and connected to the local power grid. It will be sold to installers for $3,500 for 10 kWh, and $3,000 for 7 kWh, starting in late Summer. [CNN]

Saturday, May 2:

  • A £70 million tidal project that was shelved last year could now be revived after a global leader in the industry bought up the scheme. The 10-MW Skerries Tidal Stream Array, which was to be Wales’s first commercial tidal energy farm, would see seven massive tidal generators located in up to 130 ft of water. [WalesOnline]
Artist's impression of tidal stream turbines developed by Marine Current Turbines of Bristol

Artist’s impression of tidal stream turbines developed by Marine Current Turbines of Bristol

  • Green Mountain Power is the first utility in the country to partner with Tesla to offer Tesla’s new home battery to customers. It says a radical change to the grid will begin in Rutland City. The batteries will become available in October, and GMP plans to offer incentives as well as in-bill financing to buyers. [Rutland Herald]
  • Almost three hours before Tesla’s big announcement, inside a Northwestern University classroom near Chicago, famed nuclear critic Arnie Gundersen had the inside scoop: Elon Musk would announce an industrial-scale battery that would cost about 2¢ per kWh, putting the final nail in the coffin of nuclear power. [Forbes]
  • Since 2005, Venezuela’s socialist government has sent $70 billion of subsidized oil to Nicaragua and other Caribbean area nations, according to Barclays Investment Bank. This secured political allies, countering US influence. Now, the US is encouraging a regional shift toward renewables and independence from oil. [Wall Street Journal]
  • According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2015, electricity-generating companies will add 20 GW of capacity to the grid. Of that amount, about 68% will come from renewable energy sources. And this good news is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to renewable energy around the world. [Investing.com]

Sunday, May 3:

  • “Is Solar Power About To Crush Big Oil, Big Coal And End Global Warming?” – Something amazing has happened in the energy market. The cost of solar power has fallen to the point where, in a growing number of places, it’s cheaper than the electricity that utilities deliver from their coal-fired power plants. [Investing.com]
  • A new type of wind turbine from a startup company, Vortex Bladeless, relies on an aerodynamic phenomenon called vorticity, in which wind flowing around a structure creates a pattern of small vortices or whirlwinds called a Kármán vortex street. No problema as long as they are relatively small. [CleanTechnica]

Monday, May 4:

  • E. coli exists in a wide variety of strains, some of which are beginning to pop up in renewable fuel and “green” chemical applications. One of these is involved in a new artificial photosynthesis study from UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The basic concept is to mimic natural photosynthesis. [CleanTechnica]
Click to enlarge

How the artificial leaf works.

Tuesday, May 5:

  • Washington-based Solar Electric Power Association has released a report on the US solar power industry and utility rankings for 2014. The report says the US added 5.3 GW (182,000 new systems) of PV capacity last year, taking the total installed solar capacity nationwide to 16.3 GW (675,500 locations). [Greentech Lead]
Solar carport at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo from energy.gov.

Solar carport at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo from energy.gov.

  • Solar energy is fast becoming a “least cost” option for US utilities. Declining technology costs, policy support and retail rate levels are cited as contributing factors. Issues, including rate restructuring and grid integration, need to be addressed; meanwhile community solar programs are getting strong interest. [pv magazine]
  • A new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change today, says that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will save over 3500 lives every year. The study by researchers at Harvard, Syracuse and Boston Universities and Resources for the Future finds a strategy to meet the plan. [News Every day]
  • In 2015, a record 9.1 GW of solar and 8.9 GW of wind will be installed in the US, forecasts Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Wind has 13.6 GW under construction in 100 projects, says American Wind Energy Association. In Iowa, two projects by MidAmerican Energy costing $1.5 billion will add 922 MW. [SustainableBusiness.com]

Wednesday, May 6:

 Flat Holm solar array, Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Cardiff Council Flat Holm Project. Wikimedia Commons.

Flat Holm solar array, Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Cardiff Council Flat Holm Project. Wikimedia Commons.

  • The UK’s largest operator and owner of solar PV assets, Lightsource Renewable Energy, has announced that it is offering up to £40,000 per MW for introduced sites. The developer is hoping to uncover new solar farm sites with suitable grid connections and a strong possibility of quick planning permission. [Solar Power Portal]
  • “Why Tesla Batteries Are Cheap Enough To Prevent New Power Plants” Last year, analysts for Oncor Electric Delivery Company calculated the break-even point for utility-scale storage batteries at $350 per kWh. Tesla’s Powerpack, the big sister of the Powerwall home battery, will come at a cost of $250/kWh. [Forbes]
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